Homelessness is not inevitable and can often be prevented.  Our vision is for everyone to have a safe, warm and affordable home that meets their needs.


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Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987, a person should be treated as homeless, even if they have accommodation, if it would not be reasonable for them to continue to stay in it.

Local authorities have a legal duty to help people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. They do this by:

  • providing information and advice on homelessness and the prevention of homelessness
  • offering temporary or permanent accommodation

Bills and legislation

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 introduced changes to existing homelessness legislation. It established the right to review a homelessness decision and introduced a duty on registered social landlords (RSLs) to assist local authorities in rehousing homeless people.

The Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003 outlined the provision that, by 2012, anyone finding themselves homeless through no fault of their own must be entitled to settled accommodation in a local authority or housing association tenancy or a private rental.

This amended the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 which defines the rights of homeless people and was enshrined in law in 2012 along with the Homeless (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012.

In 2012, the Scottish Parliament passed secondary legislation on housing support services, requiring local authorities to assess the housing support needs of homeless applicants.

The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2020, which previously prohibited local authorities from placing pregnant women or families with children into bed and breakfasts or hotels for more than seven days, was extended to all homeless households.

The Scottish Government is seeking to modify the operation of local connection referrals between local authorities in Scotland.


Email: Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot

Telephone: 0300 244 4000 (Central Enquiry Unit)

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